Falling Skies First Review: Another Alien Assault

FALLING SKIES: Tuesday 5th July, FX

It’s a high-concept, big-budget, sci-fi with some of the biggest names in the business behind it. The main protagonist is a highly competent, highly intelligent father-figure whose sole aim in life is to find and save his son – who may or may not have been turned into a zombie. No, this is not The Walking Dead, it is in fact Steven Spielberg’s latest project: Falling Skies.

The premise is simple: aliens invaded. Set six months after the initial assault, the narrative is woven around a group of three-hundred resistance fighters made up of soldiers and civilians. Role assignment is seemingly random; twelve-year-old kids are strapped with guns, whereas fully-grown men are left to laundry duty. Surely in such a scenario all those who are able would be expected to fight? To compound this issue further, the group’s commander, Weaver, is continually complaining about said civilians, yet no explanation is offered as to why they can’t fight.

Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) is the show’s central character, an ex history-professor and father of three, Mason is on a mission to rescue his middle son from the evil aliens’ clutches. The aliens like to enslave children (I have no idea why) via an alien parasite that turns its host into a zombie. But apparently it only works on children, oh, and all the aliens appear to do with their ‘slaves’ is march them about.

The show’s stand out character is the enigmatic ‘Pope’ (Colin Cunningham) who, in his own words “is leader of a post-apocalyptic gang of outlaws.â€? After ambushing and intimidating Mason’s recon team he ends up in a philosophical debate with the history professor. A few beers in we soon realise Pope has far more potential as a key character than as a deceased antagonist, so it’s inevitable that as events unfold he unwittingly sides with the resistance fighters.

There are a number of plot holes that may or may not be plugged in latter episodes, but there’s one I’m sure will go unresolved, and it’s a big one: how does a six-legged alien put on an armour plated vest? It’s not physically possible, surely.

Although it’s akin to all number of shows around at the moment and even though the secondary characters couldn’t be more two-dimensional if they were added post-production in MS Paint, it is none-the-less extremely engaging. Season premieres have to walk a difficult line between intrigue, exposition and action, this episode has plenty of both, and overall the series shows promise.